Yesterday's post reviewed the latest information in the Michael Vick dog-fighting story. There's an excellent article from Sports Illustrated here that thoroughly covers the situation in sometimes disturbing detail. Reading stories about drunken NFL stars punching somebody in a club is one thing. Reading a story about what a "rape stand" and a "break stick" is used for is completely different. The more information that gets out, the worse it gets for Vick.
So the next question for fantasy players has to be: "What happens if Vick gets suspended?"
The first response is "Aaaaarrrgggh!" As Eric commented , there were signs that Coach Petrino understood how to get the most out of Vick and that this could be a breakout season for him. Now, it looks like any possible Vick breakout could be delayed, maybe for a long time.
The next quarterback on the Falcons' depth chart is Joey Harrington (cue the "Aaaargh!" sound). I always thought that Harrington got a raw deal while he was in Detroit, expected to carry the entire offense and make up for bad management and coaching decisions all by himself. But he had a decent team around him in Miami last season and his performance (2236 passing yards, 12 TD, 15 INT, 68.2 Rating in 11 starts) was still underwhelming.
The other option is newly-signed Chris Redman. Falcons' Coach Petrino was Redman's offensive coordinator at Louisville in 1998, a season where Redman threw for 4,042 yards and 29 touchdowns. Petrino is a "rookie" this season and it's reasonable to think he wants to have somebody he's comfortable with running his offense. And it's not as though Redman has terrible numbers; he started the first six games of the 2002 season finishing with 1,034 passing yards, 7 touchdowns, 3 interceptions and a 76.1 rating. A back injury ended his 2002 season and he's been bouncing around the league since.
If Vick is suspended, I expect to see Chris Redman starting for the Falcons. He's probably better suited to Petrino's offense and more likely to carry it out without Vick's need to "freestyle". Redman would have a great running game behind him, an experienced receiver in Joe Horn and an outstanding outlet in TE Alge Crumpler. He won't produce the numbers Drew Brees put up last year, but he could produce what J.P. Losman put up last year. And that's certainly usable for fantasy players.